Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down last night's Raw broadcast in more detail than we can during a live show recap. Feel free to comment below, or hit us on Twitter with questions and comments with the #AskRingRap tag for us to discuss on RingRap Audio this week!
1. Heat Surge…
It was about time we got some heat in the Undertaker/Lesnar story. It feels like far too little, far too late though. Why they booked Taker to be so strong up until this point is beyond me, but their angle last night worked. I am a bit shocked that Taker didn’t work an injury in there to sell some doubt going into Sunday.
2. Passionate About His Legacy:
John Cena showed some good fire last night in his backstage promo. He went from being timid and doubtful and seeing things in a mirror to motivated and that’s good. His fearful act and all the talk about how this match would affect his legacy never really rang true with me. It’s not THE match on the card I want to see, but I’m at least a bit more interested.
3. Meanwhile, the Leader Gets His…
Bray Wyatt got another dominant win over R-Truth. His win over Big Show on Smackdown, complete with hitting Sister Abigail on the big man, was more impressive, but having another dominant win in the pocket can’t hurt. I thought Cena appearing in the sheep mask was a bit hokey, but I’m sure the live crowd and especially the kids loved it.
4. Another Week, Another Loss…
Big E. just keeps losing. When he got the Intercontinental Title, I got excited as I had heard WWE wanted to do things with him. I didn’t picture those things being “losing all the time.” It’s not that the match was bad, I just want to invest in a mid-card champion being treated like one. Either they need to take it seriously or scrap those belts.
5. Women in the Land of Confusion:
Over the past couple weeks, the story has been to have every woman in the Divas Division chasing AJ for her title, including Tamina. Well, last night in the lumberjill match, Tamina protected AJ. Can someone please make up my mind? This isn’t working with the story they’re trying to tell.
6. A Flop in the Pit
Rowdy Roddy Piper looked good last night and held up his end of the Piper’s Pit segment well. This was designed to hype the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale, but they did it the wrong way. They didn’t focus on the star power that is in the match – instead, they had Big Show come out and decimate everyone. That kind of killed things for me.
7. He’s Still the Juggernaut…
I still can’t buy in to the six man tag match between the Shield and Kane and the Outlaws. That said Roman Reigns had another strong showing. The match he had with Kane was sound, and given that 80% of the App vote wanted to see him be in that match, things are looking good for the muscle of the Shield in the future.
8. Still Golden, but Still Baffling…
I remain baffled that Cody Rhodes and Goldust are not in the tag title picture for Mania. They had a good match with Sandow and Fandango, and Goldust got the crowd going with his offense. I’m hoping we get an explanation through the week or in the battle royale as to why they decided to not put the Brothers Rhodes in the tag title picture.
9. Total (Divas) Miss…
They really could have taken a shot to turn Summer Rae full on heel last night but they missed. It carried on into today where Summer played nice at the Wrestlemania press conference (see our coverage of that here). Total Divas can be a great launching point for stories among the ladies and I have no issue with that. They just need to be able to pick character directions and stick with them. Also, if they decide to go with a character re-boot, do it on regular WWE programming, not the reality show.
10. Game Played.
The premise behind Batista vs. Randy Orton was to get to the closing Triple H/Daniel Bryan angle, and it worked. It was a hot angle that fans got into, and surely sold pay per view buys. Triple H sold for Bryan well, and fans got a feel-good moment heading into Sunday’s show. I just hope that Stephanie’s line about Bryan again not being on the show didn’t scare off viewers given how last week she said it and it was indeed true.
The Road to Wrestlemania reaches its crescendo this week. The big event is Sunday, with pre-show activity starting at 5PM EST and the pay per view starting at 7PM EST. We'll be bringing you all the newsworthy happenings throughout the week and during the day on Sunday right here on Ring-Rap.com. We'll be recording our special Wrestlemania edition of RingRap Audio tomorrow night as well, so be sure to hit us with questions and comments on Twitter with the #AskRingRap tag so we can discuss them!